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All Passion Spent: Monstrance 1

PU on Brass

20''x16.5''x 41''ht


Valay Gada’s most recent sculptures are inspired by medieval solar monstrance’s. These reliquaries contained remains either pertaining to Christ or saints and were part of Christian religious iconography across Europe for centuries. Also known as ostensoriums, their function was to “show” (from the Latin) consecrated elements. In Hindu iconography, the concept also exists of “darshan” where the worshipper goes to look upon a God and receive divine blessing. Islam also has the aniconistic traditionwhere the literal depiction has been replaced with the iconoclastic, usually calligraphic.

“All Passion Spent”1 is inspired both figuratively and literally by the passion flower, Passiflora. Here we have the reference to the Passion of Christ,“espina de Cristo ("thorn of Christ") as the flower is called in Spain, juxtaposed with the Hindu iconography of Krishna, where in India the flower is known as Krishnakamala. Colloquially in India it is called "PaanchPaandav" (referring to the fivePandavas in the Hindu epic, theMahabharata). The five anthers are interpreted as the five Pandavas, the divine Krishnais at the centre.

Gada has tried to capture the tension between the orthopraxy of his own faith, Jainism, which does not worship idols, and orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and ritualism, as represented by the monstrance. “All Passion Spent” is a statement of the ephemeral nature of placing ritual over practice. It is both a literal reference to the short life of Passiflora, that only usually flower for a day, and the shortness of human existence. Humanism should be prioritised over ritual, and compassion over judgement and hypocrisy. The heart of the icon is only a reflection, not of the gods one seeks to capture, but only of the self.

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